I woke up last night as I do sometimes and couldn't get back to sleep. Instead of rolling around trying to get back to sleep and wake up GQ I got up to read a little, despite knowing the research says spending time in front of artificial light reduces the chance of going back to sleep. Actually I think that that research doesn't take into account that people who spend so much time in front of artificial light aren't effected the same way as normal people. Call it evolution of the species. Anyhoo.
The book I was reading was the Tucker Max outtakes book. If you haven't read Tucker Max and you're not easily offended and/or if you're highly amused by someone acting like a complete sociopath then maybe you should check him out. If you fall into one or both of those categories you should maybe check him out. I'm not going to say that I recommended reading him to you b/c I don't want that responsibility. He's definitely not for everyone. I digress yet again.
One of the stories in the book is about him getting arrested for doing something stupid. That got me thinking about things I did in the time of my youth. Stupid, stupid things. Things that could have gotten me arrested. I cannot even begin to imagine how my life would have turned out differently if I would gotten arrested. It literally caused me to have a little panic attack last night. I was thinking about a particular incident more than 20 years ago that I will not discuss. Those files are sealed.
So my tagline in the Introduction section of the blog - I'm just trying to do some good to balance out the bad I've done took on a whole new meaning to me last night.
On a somewhat related train of thought last week an incident happened that has made me rethink my idea of being YerLifeguard.
The Girls and I were heading home from somewhere and I noticed a youngish looking man seemingly passed out on the road. If you've known me for awhile then you know that this kind of thing causes me to assume LifeGuard Role. It always has. Whatever it is inside of me that makes me do this just does. It's like breathing. Anyway, this guy was dressed like a regular person, clearly not a homeless guy, or if you're under the age of 15 a Hobo (which is a whole other entry).
So I turn the car around to go check on it. As soon as I slowed down R immediately says, "Please tell me you're not going to go back for that man." I told her that I cannot just leave someone laying on the side of the road. I promise that I'm not going to offer him a ride or anything, but I have to check on him.
I park a bit away from him, get out of the car and call out to him, "Hey. You all right?" He stirred and sat up looking very much out of it. "Do you need anything?" I asked. "No, no I don't need anything..." he muttered. I sat there and looked at him for a minute and then noticed that can he had been holding was not a beer can but some kind of compressed air can. Huffing. I get back in the car, turn it around and head home.
R asks what happened and I talked about what he had probably been doing and how it is really bad for you. Coco and her asked a few more questions and I told them how people do stupid stuff for different reasons.
I dropped the Girls at home to go get R some food b/c she hadn't had dinner. As I was sitting in the drive through line I started thinking that I was not doing my job as YerLifeguard to the most important people when I did things like checking on passed out people on the side of the road. So many things could have happened to me getting out of the car with an unknown situation like that, and in turn so many things could have happened to the Girls.
When I got home GQ was waiting for me. She turned to R and said, "Come tell Daddy what you told me." R told me that it really scared her when I did things like that and that she really, really wished that I would stop. I felt like a total failure of a father. I was not thinking of the safety of my two girls. I was thinking of someone I don't know that could have very easily hurt me and possibly hurt them.
I weakly tried to explain myself, but GQ in her infinite wisdom told me that I could always call 911 and give the police or EMTs a chance to do their job. I felt like such a failure. I can't explain how realizing that I could have jeopardized the Girls in any possible way because I was doing what I had always done caused me to have an internal crisis.
I accepted this pretty quickly though. I mean, seriously, what kind of idiot would I be if I tried to rationalize to myself that I can keep doing what I had been doing instead of taking the safer, rational route while still helping out.
I actually just talked to R and Coco about this. I apologized for not being the father that I need to be to keep them safe. I promised her that I would not engage people like that anymore, but call for help instead. She got it. Coco was just wondering what I was talking about and why I was keeping her from playing with Padfoot.
Sigh. Things change. Times change. You change with them or you risk getting hurt or hurting those that mean the most to you. I am okay with this. I can still be YerLifeguard. I am still YerLifeguard, and I always will be. I'll just be doing it a little differently than I have in the past.